A driver hit four pedestrians on a sidewalk along Aurora Avenue North with her car Friday afternoon, killing one and injuring the others, then tried to flee the scene, according to Seattle police.
The woman was traveling north and tried to turn right on North 39th Street, but couldn’t because she was driving fast, said Seattle police spokesman Patrick Michaud. She struck the pedestrians, hit a pole and rolled back into the roadway, coming to a rest near the median around 1 p.m., Michaud said. She got out of the car with minor injuries and ran away, he said.
A witness followed the woman and pointed her out to officers, Michaud said. Detectives have not determined whether impairment was a factor. Investigators are waiting for blood test results, Michaud said.
The suspect, a 23-year-old woman, was booked into the King County Jail on Friday afternoon and was being held without bail on investigation of vehicular homicide, felony hit and run and vehicular assault, according to the jail’s online roster. The woman has not been charged and The Seattle Times is not naming her.
One person was declared dead at the scene and the three others were taken to Harborview, said Seattle Fire Department spokesman Lance Garland. As of Friday night, a 23-year-old man was in critical condition in the intensive-care unit, along with a 63-year-old man in serious condition, said hospital spokeswoman Susan Gregg. A 25-year-old man is in satisfactory condition, she said.
Police are not sure if the victims knew each other.
A dog escaped from the crash and has been located, according to the Fire Department.
Northbound traffic was being diverted Friday afternoon at Bridge Way North, according to the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT), which warned drivers to expect delays. All lanes in the area reopened around 6:30 p.m.
SDOT data shows 39 crashes involving pedestrians and drivers resulted in serious injuries or deaths during the first half of 2019 — the highest number since 2010. Seven occurred on Aurora Avenue North. Since then, The Seattle Times has noted three more crashes on Aurora Avenue North that have resulted in serious injuries or fatalities.
Seattle in 2015 committed to Vision Zero, a national goal to eliminate traffic-related deaths and serious injuries by 2030. Statewide data shows challenges, too. Pedestrian and bicyclist deaths across Washington doubled in recent years.
SDOT Director Sam Zimbabwe said recently the trend has been “frustrating.”
“Nobody at SDOT is satisfied with this,” Zimbabwe said. “Nor is the mayor, nor is anybody on the council, nor is anybody in city government that we have done enough to solve transportation safety overall.”
Staff reporters Michelle Baruchman, Heidi Groover and Lewis Kamb contributed to this report.